From Arrest to Verdict
By: Isabella Hagen
Arrest (step 1)
- The fist stage in the criminal justice process is an officer making an arrest and convicts a person of a crime. In some cases an investigation precedes the arrest but in a typical arrest, a defendant is indicted and is sent into custody. The Officer will also inform the defendant of their four rights which are the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney (If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you which is called a Public defender) , the right to have your attorney present during the hearing and the right to not answer questions.
Criminal charges are issued or declined (Step 2)
- This is when the prosecutor issues a criminal complaint charging the suspect with committing a misdemeanor, felony, or both. Persons charged with a misdemeanor may be able to post bail and be released from jail. Persons charged with a felony crime must wait for their initial appearance in Arraignment Court.
Entering a Plea (Step 4)
- In misdemeanor cases, the defendant is asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. In felony cases, a date is set for a preliminary hearing.
Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury Proceedings (Step 5)
- If a defendant does not make bail in the first several days after her arrest they will often be set down for a preliminary hearing.
Arraignment (Step 6)
A criminal defendant's first appearance on the formal charges before a judge is called the arraignment. The defendant is formally charged and enters a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Plea Hearing (Step 7)
A hearing where the defendant's response to a criminal charge is by entering a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant for the defendant to plead guilty or no contest under certain circumstances, but these circumstances need to be approved by the judge.
The Trial (Step 8)
During the trial the evidence and witnesses are subpoena. Both the prosecution and the defense will call witnesses where they will be examined and they will give their testimony in front of the jury or petit jury. If there testimony is not truthful they can be sentenced to jail for perjury, lying under oath. This is when the defendant will be found "guilty" or "not guilty". The decision the court makes is also called the Verdict. Sometimes the defendant may only be found guilty of some of the criminal charges.
Sentencing (Step 9)
This is where the court makes the decisions for appropriate penalties for the crime they have been convicted of.
Appeal (Step 10)
The defendant may appeal there case after sentencing. This means that they are apply for a higher court for their decision to be reversed.